Fire Fighting in Canada

OAFC highlights and VOIP misstep


OAFC highlights and VOIP misstep
Once again the blog has been sadly neglected, due to attendance last week at the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs trade show and conference, followed by several days of catch up. Time, now, to catch up here, too.

May 7, 2008 
By Carey Fredericks

First, a shameless plug for Fire Fighting in
Canada contributors Lyle Quan and Les Karpluk, whose crack, and crack-of-dawn, presentation, Leadership – Art or Science, was both well done and well received. We’re predicting a coast-to-coast road show when word gets out about the quality of the presentation!


A highlight of the conference for many was the fire and life safety presentation by Tim Vandenbrink, assistant fire marshal in Alberta. Vandenbrink is a diminutive fireball (bad choice of words, I know!) who managed to captivate a room full of about 400 fire chiefs, deputies and training officers on a subject that they’ve all heard about a million times before. Vandenbrink’s presentation was different. Alternately jumping up and down, yelling and making wonderful faces, Vandenbrink had the room in stitches for much of the presentation, like when he talked about Kurt Russell running into a burning building in the movie Backdraft with no BA but with AN AXE, or asking a six year old what he’d do if his clothes were on fire. “I wouldn’t put them on.” If you want to get the fire and life safety message across effectively, book this guy for your next meeting.


Meeting dozens and dozens of chiefs, deputies and training officers from across Ontario, coming away with great ideas for the magazine and website and hearing first hand about issues like voice-over-internet protocol and combined fire/EMS were the highlights for me.

– – –

Speaking of VOIP, 18
-month-old Elijah Luck died last week in Calgary after a 911 call was made using an internet phone. Sadly, the internet phone service provider, Comwave, patched the call through to the Luck family’s former home in Mississauga, Ont., instead of to Calgary's emergency centre.

As the
CBC reported on Monday, Tom Keenan, a professor in the University of Calgary's department of computer science, recommends people with small children or elderly parents use a land line instead of voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) for their telephone.

We’ll look at VOIP in depth in Fire Fighting in Canada in the near future but we’d like to hear what you have to say about this technology. E-mail us using the comment box below.


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